“Because he clings to me in love, I will deliver him.” - Ps 91:14
We never talk about loneliness; yet, it is prevalent. It visits us all. Yet, conventional wisdom frowns upon it. It is bad to feel lonely. However, loneliness affects us all, so much that some of us are paralyzed by fear; and many of us throw ourselves into a maelstrom of activities in an ineffective escape from loneliness.
We never talk about loneliness; yet, it is prevalent. It visits us all. Yet, conventional wisdom frowns upon it. It is bad to feel lonely. However, loneliness affects us all. It paralyzes some of us with fear and throws many of us into a maelstrom of activities, especially when we deny the feelings that accompany loneliness.
Jesus allowed the Spirit to lead him into the desert. There, he faced his suffocating loneliness and its temptations. He clung to God in love and was delivered. Through it, he grew more radically dependent on God_Abba; he came to a deeper realization of who he was and who he was called to be – the Beloved called to reconcile others with God. Like him, when we are open to our loneliness - our particular kind of suffering - something creative happens. Illusions are exposed and truths emerge, allowing us to stand with others who suffer their particular loneliness. And even though ours and theirs are not the same loneliness, solidarity is born. Compassion grows. Moreover, we come to know and love Jesus more intimately. Mysteriously, we grow in greater intimacy with ourselves, others, and Jesus. On the way, our heart becomes more tender and closer to the heart of God.
Embracing loneliness sounds much better than it feels. Recently, the flu left me bedridden for over two weeks. It happened at a very importune time when many people depended on me. I was tempted to focus on myself, to allow self-blame and self-judgment significant real estate in my mind and heart. Yet, somehow, that did not happen. Grace happened instead: I became gentler with myself. I let Christ hold me, rest with me, sleep with me, and cared for me through my family. My siblings and their spouses were unforgettably kind and sweet, nursing me with food and tender love. Through the long sickness with its share of loneliness, I grew in connection with others, with God, and with myself.
“Jesus, help us to enter our loneliness with you and cling to God.”